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Looking for a new Cruiser

Discussion in 'Cruisers' started by dracomjb, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. I'm off my restrictions and am searching for a new cruiser.

    I want something that will last a few years and won't feel too underpowered in a years time.

    I don't want something that will just be too big and heavy to handle given I've only ever been riding a 250.

    Haven't had time to organise any test rides, looking for input from others that either own or have test ridden any of these bikes.

    My current shortlist from visiting the bike expo last weekend:

    Triumph Speedmaster - looks really nice. My heart is choosing this one. It's a name with heritage, I think the lines and the look are just right. What I don't like about it is that it's chain driven & isn't fuel injected.

    Kawasaki VN900 Custom - looks quite nice, pretty good sized fuel tank, not too expensive. Belt driven and fuel injected. Not too heavy.

    Yamaha VStar 1300A - looks ok, I'm familiar with Yamaha and my local dealer/servicing, has more modern technology than most other cruisers, so I'm told, has the LCD readout mode change on the right handlebar which seems safer. Concern is that 1300cc is a bit big to jump on after only riding a 250, also weight.

    Kawasaki VN1600 Mean Streak - wow....looks like it's name. Definitely not a classic cruiser look, but I like it. Similar concerns on being too powerful for someone just off restrictions.

    If I had to choose right now I think I'd go the Triumph with the VN1600 a close second.

    I've discounted the Suzuki M50 and C50 because even though I'm thinking that a 1300 or 1600 is too big, I think they might be a little too underpowered longer term. I'll probably find them great now, and in a years time need to upgrade. I've discounted the Suzuki M109, even though I love the way it looks I think it would be a bit too powerful.

    I had a look at the Honda 750 and 1300 at the expo and wasn't overly keen on the look and feel, the 1300 felt quite heavy.

    So, any comments suggestions? This will be a bike I'll ride daily and I'm not overly concerned with resale value but I will be putting around 30,000kms on it each year.
  2. I went through the same a week or 2 ago and ended up buying a new Kawasaki VN900 Classic. In my mind the VN900 ios the right compromise between too big and too small. To me it was the best value for money
  3. How are you finding the Kawasaki?

    If I had to choose between the VN900 Custom and the Triumph I'm probably going to go with the Triumph personally, although I'm frustrated that the 2008 Triumph will be fuel injected and have slightly more power than the 2007 but going on the 2007 model I'd have to wait until February for that.
  4. I love the VN 900. Just feels right. I wouldnt buy a bike without F/I. I also like the belt drive and 2 year warranty. Try sitting on them all - I just fell in love with the VN900. I find it nice and smooth

    What about the Yamaha 1100 vstar?

    I don't know much about the Triumph to be honest
  5. VN1600, because its just plain awesome!
  6. If I could my next bike would be the trumpy. I love it, the look, the sound, the heritage and it's just a nice bike to ride. All I would change is the exhaust and get the tank painted flat black with black ghost flames. It really is my dream bike, but alas is not on the agenda for a couple of years yet.

    Chain drive is OK if you are not doing lots of kays year.
  7. If you can afford the VN1600 - go for it.

    Nothing worse than "should have", especially on a cruiser, in a few months if you had a smaller bike, pretty much guarantee you'll be wanting more get up and go - the extra power is there only when you need it :cool:

    Make sure you ride them all, don't know how the big Jap cruisers go commuting, as you're milage indicates you will be doing a fair bit of that
  8. A few things about you might be handy - for instance, do you suffer from ducks disease or are you a sumo wrestler? Do you want to buy new (it seems you do) or are you happy with a used bike? Whats the budget? These factors will play a large part in any recommendations.

    Don't worry that the bike will have "too much power" - unless you buy a Rocket III I don't think it will be an issue. Most of the factory cruisers are pretty tame out of the shop - the airflow systems seem to really choke their output - which means you can learn to handle it stock, and then start to remove the restrictions and get more out of it.

    Also don't stress too much about "big and heavy" unless you plan to be doing a lot of tight space, slow speed stuff (you planning on filtering on this thing?) when it may become a problem if you're particularly short or physically weak. Cruisers have the weight and centre of gravity so low that its not really too hard until you grab a handful of front brake at 5km with the front wheel turned. THEN you find out how heavy they are.

    For 30,000km/year I'd be looking for a shaft driven bike where possible to make maintenance easier. Belts only have about a 50,000km life IIRC so you'd be up for one of those every 18mnths, and thats not chear or easy to replace. (on my bike, the belt alone was $500).

    Try to find one with decent brakes, as so many of the mid range ones (600-1300 range) are underbraked. Twin front and single rear disc should be the standard, but sadly its not as yet on the "smaller" bikes.

    Be aware of the cooling on the bike. A lot of the metrics are going with liquid cooling, and the fins on the cylinders are just for show. Be aware that if you're commuting in slow traffic, these may suffer a bit as they have no booster fans on the radiator.

    Personally I wouldn't stress so much about fuel injection as a requirement but more a nice-to-have - if you find 2 bikes that meet all the criteria you want and one is EFI and the other isn't, then sure, otherwise you may find you don't have a lot of options.

    Without any additional information, my personal recommendation to you would be a Yamaha XV1100. It has shaft drive, good brakes, air-cooled motor, plenty of aftermarket options, a good riding position, not too heavy and not underpowered, plus you have the option of the full valanced Classic or the newer Custom look. OK, so its a carby job, but I don't think that will be a problem.
  9. Yes want to buy new, budget is between 10 and 20.

    Most people I've spoken to have said that I would be able to handle the 1300s/1600s. While I believe them, there is always that concern that a 900 will have less oomph than a 1600 and so it will be generally safer for someone with less experience. Obviously if I ride it stupidly a 250 will potentially kill me, it's more a case of not wanting something too big and powerful in case I make an experience error.

    Well the plan is to commute, it would be ridden at least 5 days a week in traffic, so a desire to filter would be there.

    That's the only thing that concerns me about the Triumph or VN900, having to keep replacing the chain&sprocket / belt.

    At the moment the 2 bikes that I keep coming back to are the Triumph Speedmaster and the Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Mean Streak.

    Interested in comments from anybody that has ridden either of these. Once I find the time (mid November the way my weekends are going) I'll be grabbing a test ride of these 2.
  10. Ask Kawasaki about the belt. I was told the VN900 belt lasts 200,000 kms.
    And for me the 900 has MORE than enough power
  11. You'll be fine with that attitude, by all means listen to other people, but don't take it as gospel.

    Test ride the bikes and see what you think about their power, and as voyager said allow an extra few hp once you let the bike breathe a bit better :cool:
  12. I'm sorry... but I flat out do not believe that.

    They are feeding you a line!

    Don't get me wrong, the VN900 is my favourite mid sized cruiser... and I prefer the fact that it's belt drive as the rear end looks lots better.

    But 200K? No way.
  13. I can tell you that the C50 Boulevard is very torquey. It will handle 2 up with ease and has surprisingly plenty of power for it size v's cc's.

    I put a K&N Air filter in, debaffled the exhaust and had the ecu sorted to give the correct air/fuel ratio. It went even better again after that. If you are worried about underpower, i wouldn't suggest the honda.

    If you want power, maybe a cruiser isnt really for you either..

    Think long and hard about your choice, go and ride some sports tourers as well just so you can compare..
  14. I have a M50, soon to be a M109 ( more $$ required)
    I commute 6 days a week, and the occasional longer ride of 1,000km a day for a week stuff. Do 15000 to 20000 km a yr.

    The M50 is fine for filtering, and lane splits fine.
    I TRavel up and down FTG rd every day, from FTG to Oakleigh, and the traffic is always bumper to bumper. The trip takes ave 15 mins, against 45 for the cage.

    The 109 is only 15 mm wider!
    I would look at bar width as the limiting factor, except if you have sadlebags or panniers, which will really restrict your filtering.
    Bars can always be changed!.
    I fitted a Ventura rack and a 56L bag, son no width increase for me.
  15. I filter on my XVS1100A - its bars are wide and its got saddlebags. The saddlebags are easily removable though if I don't need them on - seeing they are K-drive ones. If getting a narrow bike is a criteria then you could always get a sportsbike :LOL: Whilst it isn't terrific trying to filter in narrow lanes, for the most part I don't have any real issues.

    As for bike choice, well, pick what gives you the biggest grin when you sit on it :) For what its worth, I am really happy with my bike - shaft drive, air cooled - it has never given me any problems, runs flawlessly, can commute on it or take it touring, I really like the way it looks, and brakes are good :) Only think I'd want to change on my bike is I wish it had a 6 speed gearbox - that extra gear would give a much better range and fuel economy on long trips!
  16. For a note on the power options - my bike stock puts out about 60hp, 130nm torque and around 6.5lt/100km. Since all the mods have gone in - hypercharger, full exhaust system, ported manifold, ignition kit - I get a decent chunk more power, particularly through the midrange, and the fuel economy has actually improved - I now get around 6lt/100km.

    As for handling the bike - it took me about 30min to be comfortable with the 1600 after coming off my 250. I'm still learning, of course, but the jump in regular cruisers really doesn't see massive hp changes. the switch from a 250 cruiser to a 1600 cruiser just isn't as big as from a 250 sports to a 650 sports.

    With the attitude you display in your previous post, I don't think you'll have any trouble with whatever bike you choose.
  17. Started with a Yammie XVS650 cruiser and moved up to a VN 1600 (Classic) when both the budget and the confidence allowed. :)
    I didn't buy the 1600 for "power" or "performance" per se: I really love the cruiser style and wanted a bike that suited my physical stature and overall comfort expectations. Also, I bought 2nd hand which did place some limitations on my available choices. I love to take my wife along for the ride whenever I can, so I needed a bike with the capability for comfortable two-up cruising. The VN1600 fitted that bill just fine.
    The best advice already given here is to test ride as many of the bikes on your list as you can. You will get an idea pretty quickly what suits you and what doesn't.
    I have a mate with the 2006 VN900 and he loves it. No shortage of get-up and go and eats up the miles easily with pretty good economy.
    Good luck with your choice! Have a ball with whatever you choose :)
  18. totally agree....

    they are a nice ride

    could ride all day and not get a sore bum
  19. Bikes aren't dangerous. It's the person who's riding then that can be. ?Golden rule is not to ride beyond your limitiations and/or that of the bike. If you buy a more powerful bike, it doesn't mean that you have to twist your wrist all the way and use the power available. Take your time to get comfortable. Technique comes first and speed follows naturally no matter what kind of bike you ride.
  20. new bike - what bike

    I can agree (not about the life span of the belt) but the VN900 is awsome . I am personally back to bikes after a few years of abstinence (25 years actually :LOL: ) and I bought the Kawa VN900 Classic . But give 'em all a go on test rides - the more the better (The dealers WANT to SELL !! So they will give you for a ride what ever you want !!) and then make your mind up. Don't fall in love with your first testride (my wifies was the XVS 650 classic) but then she / we ended up with the Kawa VN 800 we bought !!)
    Have fun with test ridin' - and keep us posted with your decision.